Miracle Monday: The Second Generation

Happy Monday, everyone! This is the first Miracle Monday that's being written while I'm sitting on my new couch, the first couch I've ever owned, and it feels pretty nice! Though I'm also covered in giant bruises thanks to my accidental river adventure, which feels much less nice. Nowhere near nice, actually. But I digress.

Yesterday was Father's Day (hope everyone had a good one!), and many weeks ago my friend Bailey suggested I write a Miracle Monday post about the 1980 team's kids to celebrate the occasion. I, of course, thought that was a great idea. (Thanks, Bailey!) But I'm not trying to be invasive and dig too deeply into anyone's personal life, so if you thought this was gonna get creepy... it won't. There are some lines I'm just not willing to cross. What I will talk about, though, are the kids that've carved out hockey careers for themselves and are carrying the torch for a second generation. :)

(Ironically, Billy Schneider isn't on this list, but that picture is too good for me to have left it out. I have, however, talked about Buzz and Billy here and here!)
It would be a grave mistake not to kick this off with Ryan Suter, because he's basically a poster boy for hockey success. And it's fitting, too, because Ryan's successes are the complete opposite of his father's. Bob was known for his high number of penalty minutes; his four-year college career included a national championship; he won an Olympic gold medal in his only Games, during which he was injured and received limited playing time; and he then decided not to pursue an NHL career. Ryan, on the other hand? He played one year of college hockey and did not win a national championship; has played on two Olympic teams, serving as alternate captain on both and winning a silver at Vancouver 2010 (we do not discuss Sochi 2014); and has been an NHL stalwart for a decade, where he's known not for his penalty minutes but for his obscene amount of ice team. Seriously, he's constantly leading the league in minutes played and is generally regarded as one of the most solid, reliable players. In terms of careers, these two almost couldn't be more different. But both father and son attended the University of Wisconsin, both play(ed) defense, and both wear #20. :) Also important to note? Ryan is the only child of a 1980 Olympic team member to play in either the NHL or the Olympics. And he just so happens to have done both.
Rachel Ramsey is serious life goals. This girl kicks some serious tail. (She's almost two years younger than me yet I want to be like her. Shh.) Not only is she six feet tall, blonde and absolutely beautiful, she attended the University of Minnesota. Now, the Gophers are kind of a big deal on the women's college hockey scene, so the simple fact that she's on the team is extremely impressive. In her four years there, the Gophers won three (count 'em, three) national championships. So again, this alone is extremely impressive, but let's take a look at Rachel's bio on gophersports.com, shall we? In her senior season, she was "named Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-10 finalist, AHCA/CCM First Team All-American, All-USCHO Second Team, WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, All-WCHA First Team and WCHA All-Academic Team," "named co-captain," and "appeared in all 41 games and led the WCHA and ranked second in the nation for scoring among defensemen with 33 points (9g-24a)." LOL OKAY THEN. She's certainly following in her dad's footsteps; Mike spent one year in college and won a national championship, then won an Olympic gold medal, and then spent the better part of two decades in the NHL. Obviously the NHL isn't an option for Rachel, and she retired from hockey after her college career came to an end. But she and her dad both locked it down on defense at the University of Minnesota, and both wore #5.
Alright, so Brock Nelson isn't actually the child of a 1980 Olympic team member, but he's important enough that we need to discuss him here. He played two seasons for the University of North Dakota (just like his uncle Dave) before being taken by the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft. He made his debut with the Islanders during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs (no pressure); he reached a career high in points (42) and +/- rating (+6) during the 2014-15 season, and was one of three Islanders to play in all 82 games. He's also played on several national teams at the junior and senior level, and helped Team USA win world championship bronze in 2015. But we need to talk about his family tree for a quick second. Dave, before his 14-year NHL career, won an Olympic gold medal in 1980; before Dave, Brock's grandfather Billy and great-uncle Roger both won an Olympic gold medal in 1960. Do you know what that means? Both Olympic gold medals that USA Hockey has ever won have been won by members of the Christian family. I don't think there's been a Christian on an Olympic team since 1980, so basically we need to petition USA Hockey to choose Brock for the 2018 Olympic team. Let's make this happen!
Mikayla Johnson is another one with a big-time family legacy to follow. Her grandpa, Bob Johnson, is one of the more legendary coaches in college hockey history, leading the University of Wisconsin to three national championships. Mikayla's dad, Mark, is the all-time leading scorer at the University of Wisconsin, won an Olympic gold medal (and was team MVP) in 1980, played in the NHL for a decade, and is the current coach for Wisconsin's women's hockey team. And Mikayla's older brother, Patrick, played for the University of Wisconsin and was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2008 NHL Draft. In a nutshell: the Johnsons are essentially synonymous with both the University of Wisconsin and being really, really good at hockey. But Mikayla's handling that pressure like a champ (plus the additional pressure of her dad being her coach) and is the third member of her immediate family to become a Badger. She scored three goals in 20 games played last year and still has two more seasons of eligibility. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what she does in the future!

And how about a few honorable mentions?

Dave Christian's daughter Kendall played for four years at Augsburg College, and Jim Craig's daughter Taylor did the same at Colgate University. (Yaaassss, the ladies are killin' it!)

Mike Ramsey's son Jack was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks and will soon be starting his freshman season at the University of Minnesota, and Neal Broten's nephew Shane Gersich plays for the University of North Dakota and was drafted by the Washington Capitals. So there could potentially be a few more second-generation NHL players! We'll just have to wait and see. ;)

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